Considerations Prior to Your First Court Hearing

November 17, 2012 MDRM BLOG 0 Comment

Many peo­ple are intim­i­dated when they have to appear in court.  There are many rea­sons why court can be a scary place if you have never been there before or if you are not ade­quately pre­pared.  Court can be scary because the out­come of a court pro­ceed­ing can result in loss of money, loss of free­dom and other dev­as­tat­ing restric­tions.  One of the most fun­da­men­tal deci­sions you should make before going to court is whether you should hire a lawyer.  A lawyer is trained in the law and under­stands the pro­ce­dures asso­ci­ated with court.  There­fore, you should always give great con­sid­er­a­tion to hir­ing a lawyer prior to attend­ing court.  Many laypeo­ple believe that they can present their case to the judge and there­after receive a favor­able out­come with­out the assis­tance of a lawyer.  While no doubt some laypeo­ple can present their case effec­tively most peo­ple are unable to do so.  Laypeo­ple often do not under­stand the Rules of Evi­dence or the Rules of Civil Pro­ce­dure because they lack the years of train­ing and edu­ca­tion which lawyers pos­sess.  Addi­tion­ally, a layper­son can make their case worse if they present their case inef­fec­tively or admit some­thing in court which can­not later be changed.

In addi­tion to deter­min­ing whether you should hire a lawyer prior to your first court hear­ing, you should bring any doc­u­ments or paper­work to court with you.  I have seen many laypeo­ple come to court unpre­pared and say to the judge, “I left the signed con­tract at home.”  These type of responses could frus­trate the judge or cause the judge to lose cred­i­bil­ity in you.  Addi­tion­ally, this sets you on the wrong foot with the judge.  A lawyer is trained in the pro­ce­dures of the court and is expected be pre­pared to address the case.  A lawyer could be sub­jected to being reported to the State Bar if the lawyer is not ade­quately prepared.

Fur­ther­more, you should bring any wit­nesses to court with you.  A fail­ure to bring wit­nesses to court could result in the court not per­mit­ting them to tes­tify at a late date.  Over­all, this is another fac­tor that an attor­ney would weigh prior to going to court.  

The infor­ma­tion con­tained in this blog is not legal advice nor should it be con­strued to apply in your cir­cum­stances.  There could be many facts which apply in your sit­u­a­tion.  You should always con­sult with a lawyer prior to court.  This infor­ma­tion does not cre­ate an attorney-client rela­tion­ship with the Law Office of DeDecker & Meltzer LLP.

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None of the infor­ma­tion on this site con­sti­tutes legal advice. It is an ad for attor­ney ser­vices. The attor­neys at DeDecker & Meltzer are licensed attor­neys in the state of Cal­i­for­nia. The infor­ma­tion is intended to be gen­eral in nature as there are many laws and reg­u­la­tions not men­tioned on this site that may apply to your sit­u­a­tion.